When I saw the Fred Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, I sat in the theater misty-eyed, realizing that one of the people I look up to most was open and honest about himself through a puppet named Daniel Striped Tiger. Journalist Tom Jonud said, “All you had to do was see Fred inhabit Daniel to figure it out: they were symbiotic. As strange as it is to see a grown man have a symbiotic relationship with a dingy, worn-out, little sock puppet, he definitely had that.” Roger’s wife, Joanne, said something similar. “He did all the voices, but I think Daniel was the real Fred.”
To use language from the furry community, Daniel could be Rogers’ fursona, which is a creative expression of oneself through an animal with human traits in their features or behavior (i.e. anthropomorphism). Through Daniel, Rogers unknowingly exhibited a core aspect of what it means to be a furry.
What being a furry means to me.